Nurses at Govt hospitals strike

Dr Solwayo Ngwenya

Dr Solwayo Ngwenya

Pamela Shumba/Richard Muponde/Walter Mswazie, Chronicle Reporters
NURSES at Government hospitals countrywide yesterday downed tools in protest over the failure by their employer to attend to their grievances which include poor remuneration and working conditions.

The Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association (Zina) wrote to the Government on Friday, saying the strike would start today and end when Government has met their demands.

When The Chronicle visited Mpilo Central Hospital and the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) yesterday, student nurses were manning the wards while employed nurses were not attending to patients.

At Mpilo Hospital, the outpatients department was closed, with only emergency cases being attended to.

According to a notice by Dr Solwayo Ngwenya, the hospital’s clinical director, the institution was forced to come up with measures to manage the situation.

“This is to inform you that due to the on-going industrial action by nurses, the outpatients department will be closed until the end of the strike. We will be attending to emergency cases only.

“Contingency measures have been put in place to keep critical areas like the ICU, maternity, theatres and casualty open to save precious lives,” said Dr Ngwenya.

A meeting was held between the Government and Zina on Sunday, but it yielded no results after the nurses rejected what the Government offered and demanded that they see the allowances in their accounts first.

According to Zina, the Government promised to effect the allowances by Thursday.

The Government offered night duty allowances to be paid for Grades D1 to D4 at a rate of $217 to $303, while standby allowances for rural staff to be paid at a rate of $240 for grades C5 to D4.

The Government also offered $70 for post-basic allowances while grading and advancement arrears would also be paid on Thursday.

Zina’s secretary general Mr Enock Dongo yesterday said nurses will only return to work when Government has fulfilled its promises.

“Nurses are frustrated by promises that the Government is making and not fulfilling. We’ve therefore embarked on a strike that will only end when the Government has done what we want.

“Implementation has taken too long and nurses are finding it difficult to trust their employer. There are promises that were made in 2010 and they have not been implemented up to now,” said Mr Dongo.

He added that there was a haphazard system in the health sector with no rationale, a development that has seen nurses being wrongly graded and earning less than what they are supposed to earn.

Mr Dongo argued that nurses played a pivotal role in the country’s health delivery system but the Government has continued to ignore their concerns.

In Victoria Falls, scores of people seeking medical services were stranded at the Victoria Falls District Hospital as nurses were on a go slow. The health institution serves as the district hospital for Hwange with a catchment area covering the resort town, Kazungula, Jambezi, Chisuma, Matetsi, Pandamatenga and surrounding areas. A majority of people ended up going to private institutions as they could not access services.

The situation was similar at St Patrick’s Hospital in Hwange where health staff was also not attending to people.

In Binga, The Chronicle gathered that it was business as usual at Binga District Hospital as nurses reported for duty.

Meanwhile, nurses at Plumtree District Hospital yesterday morning joined the nationwide strike called by their national association to press Government for a salary increase.

The nurses did not stay away from their work stations but hung around the hospital premises, avoiding getting into patient’s wards.

A source at the hospital said doctors were having a torrid time working alone as most of the “dirty work” was not being done by nurses who have downed tools.

“Doctors are not used to this kind of work as they are used to examining and writing patients’ cards while nurses carry all the instructions thereto. Now they are faced with reality and are finding it difficult to cope with the work,” he said.

Reports said some general workers at the health institution were helping with the physical lifting of patients while doctors were doing both the nurses jobs and their own.

Nurses in Masvingo also joined the nationwide industrial action, with patients at Masvingo General Hospital being turned away.

Masvingo provincial medical director Dr Amadeaus Shamu confirmed a skeletal staff was waiting for emergencies at the provincial hospital.

“I can confirm that nurses here have joined the nationwide strike. However, emergency cases are being attended to,” said Dr Shamu.

The strike follows an industrial action by government doctors last month over conditions of service, salaries and allowances which government has reportedly reviewed upwards.

A survey showed that there was skeletal staff at the Masvingo provincial referral hospital but no patient was being attended to.

The most affected patients were the terminally ill ones, especially those living with HIV who wanted to collect their medication.

An HIV activist Mr Joshua Mavundu said Government must act swiftly to avert a looming “disaster” as defaulting treatment was tantamount to a death sentence for people living with the virus.

@[email protected]\@none_hadebe\@richardmuponde @walterbmswazie3

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  • musa

    yet ediot has money for gallivanting across the world, printing millions of t-shirts, caps buying hundreds of campaign vehicles etc

    • Bth

      you vote zanu , you vote deindustrilisation

      • joshua negomo

        So dont vote …me im voting Zanu Pf to defend my 100 hectare land in Mguza

        • zibulo

          who said a new govt would take over your plot. we are only trying to get you to vote opposition so that you get funding and a market for your products there, vuka mani

        • Vusani

          I found myself a new partner and my sexual interest returned

    • Felix Silandulo Moyo

      It takes women their whole lives to try and get over me!!

  • The Observer

    No problem for government officials and their wives who include their beloved children, daughters/sons-in-law for they shall be provided with medication in foreign lands using resources looted in our country…while stupid and dull wizards and witches continue with melodical music that there is’ new political dispensation’.

    • Bth

      i was in Nkulumane 10 minutes back , i saw partisan distribution of rice by people wearing Zanu pf white t-shirts , that is not allowed

      • Menzi Sibanda

        Try sitting on the living room floor?

  • nsimbi

    this workers should not be allowed to down tools but to communicate their grievances, such actions are unfair to the povo who rely on their services ,for an example the police are not allowed to go on strike

    • Bth

      the ultimatum was given more than 14 days , what are you talking about

  • maye maye

    they are hitting the wrong targets their fellow country man

  • Essexvale

    Any responsible citizen would feel outraged when persons who work in strategic industries go on strike. Yet in the current case involving local nurses and the recent doctors’ industrial action, one has to carefully and subjectively assess the circumstances before making condemnations. When one studies the nurses’ grievances and the poor manner in which the authorities treat these, one is justified in showing sympathy with these health workers. However, the overriding thought, in such cases, arises from the knowledge that deaths and increased ill health are bound to result from such strikes. This therefore should be viewed by government as a cry for the need to address the concerns of workers, particularly those in strategic industries, to address their concerns with the urgency that these deserve.

    • mathe

      should workers in emergency services be allowed to go on strike?

      • Bth

        why not

      • Essexvale

        Difficult question to answer, given the sympathetic leanings in my comment.

    • Nontokozo Nono Dlamini

      Don’t adopt your husband’s surname when getting married – you have to pay to get it changed after separation.

      • MakhosiXamu

        Husband?. married?. kkikkkkkkkkkkkk, it appears as though you have been drinking the intoxicating liquid of late.

        • Nontokozo Nono Dlamini

          Try sleeping pills

          • Sonde

            Roddy you need prayers young man.

        • Sonde

          For this one you can blame Ed. Akulamapilisi at Ingutsheni. This boy is struggling. This is a cry for help for Roddy.

  • MakhosiXamu

    Nurses are right. This dirty ED is causing more harm than good. shame

    • Monica Ndlovu

      Country music and drinking go together perfectly

      • MakhosiXamu

        Are you normal upstairs?. Thula nxa ugula

        • Monica Ndlovu

          Ever notice how when someone gets a motorcycle all of a sudden they’re tough ?

          • MakhosiXamu

            Is this supposed to a compliment or what?. Ngizakutshela inhlamba….. rubbish

          • Monica Ndlovu

            Try your luck in Cake Decoration or a PHD in water purification

    • joshua negomo

      Its transition from bad to better then best ….be patient…ZIMRA collected Billion plus nurses will be paid …also try nanga and prophets they are tooo many in Zimbabwe our beloved ..happy independence Bro

      • MakhosiXamu

        You are just waffling for no good reason. Transition from what?. These guys or thugs to put it mildly have been having a field day in Zim. looting …. so what transition are you talking about ?. you are just an imbecile, period.

        • Pinky Tshabangu

          juvenile crime is at record lows in Czechoslovakia.

  • MARY

    Can the police,security official and soldiers also go on strike ..I smell millions lol

    • Nomthandazo Ndiweni

      This has absolutely nothing to do with Donald Trump…..right??

      • MakhosiXamu

        Eccentric views. shame.

        • Nomthandazo Ndiweni

          Homosexuality is illegal in Jamaica